The Snapper Run - Downwind in Perth

Tuesday, 19 November 2019 05:52 | Written by 
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Approaching the bridge at the start of the Snapper Run Approaching the bridge at the start of the Snapper Run

Darryl’s ski flew down the wave, spray flying… “How good is this, mate?!” he yelled. I could only laugh in reply – the runs were so clean, the water so clear, so warm, this truly is paddling paradise.

I’m here as a guest of Shaw and Partners, the sponsors of the $100,000 Shaw and Partners WA Race Week in Perth. Monday was an “off-day” in the weeklong racing series – and that meant an opportunity to sample one of the local downwind paddling routes.

Darryl Khng is one of the keenest downwind paddlers on the planet – as his popular (infamous?) videos on YouTube testify. And he was amped to show a bunch of out-of-towners his favorite paddle (“the best downwind in Perth”) – the “Snapper Run”.

“It used to be known as the Woodies Run,” he said, “But we added some length to it, and it became the Snapper.”

course

The Snapper Run - Point Peron to South Beach

Miller’s Run Taxi – Perth Style

At home in Cape Town we have the “Miller’s Run Taxi” – a minibus/trailer service that lifts us to the beginning of our regular downwind route.

I was amused to see that the Perth version – Peter Farmer’s Coastal Cruising – has an extra row of seats and room for more surfskis on the trailer, bigger and better…!

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Miller's Run Taxi - Perth Style!

Just like our version at home, the Coastal Cruising service has transformed downwind paddling in Perth, solving the logistical hassle of one-way paddling.

V10 3g

As a bonus, Epic Kayaks had brought along a third generation V10 for me to paddle – there’s only one of them in Cape Town and I still haven’t persuaded the buddy who owns it to let me have a go…

We launched at Point Peron and headed out to the bridge that connects the mainland to the navy base on Garden Island.

Even as we reached the bridge, the wind was already kicking up chop and the more amped among us were beginning to surge ahead on the little runs. We stopped in the lee of the bridge as Darryl pointed out the landmarks.

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And then we were off…

Wave after Wave

The runs built rapidly in the 15-20kt breeze and soon we were flying down the faces. Wind and waves were coming directly from behind, and it was paddles down, lean back, look for the next dip, a couple of quick strokes, paddles down, lean back and repeat as we linked wave after wave after wave.

The more serious among us (i.e. those who were using this as recovery paddle after the West Coast Downwind) held back, but I was having too much fun – we hardly ever get conditions like this at home in Cape Town, and I was reveling in it.

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Little Creatures

For the sake of my paddling buddies back in Cape Town, the run was like a cross between a reverse Buffels Run and the Milnerton to Melkbos: calm off the beach with the wind-generated chop building quickly into lines of perfect, steep waves, with plenty of opportunity to link sequences. Just beautiful – really lovely, easy to use, relaxing downwind.

And all too soon, it was over – 22km doesn’t feel that long in such conditions…

I learnt a new word in Aussie English – “Esky”. Eskys are Good Things – they’re generally filled with ice and rehydration packs, in this case in the form of “Little Creatures”, some of the finest rehydration fluids I’ve tasted.

And the V10?

Suffice to say that it lived up to the reports that I’ve read…

When I jumped on it, I did find it slightly twitchier than my Swordfish S, but five minutes were enough to get the feel of it – if you’ve ever wondered about the term “secondary stability”, this ski epitomizes it. It’ll lean over just so far and no further and I quickly forgot about any stability issues. I reckon I’d feel bullet-proof in almost any conditions.

It feels as if it has more rocker than the previous generation V10 – certainly it catches runs very easily. Whether it’s the hull shape or the big elliptical surf rudder, I had no hint of a broach at any time on the runs. At the same time, it answered both to rudder and tilting the hull and is easy to maneuver on the waves.

In a nutshell, I loved it and would really like to spend more time on it. For a mid-packer paddler like me, it’s definitely in the frame – easy to use, fun and it felt pretty quick.

Thanks to Darryl for organizing the trip – and to Epic Kayaks and Charles Brand for the use of the boat. (Too bad it’s booked out to some other lucky sod for the Doctor!)

Take-away

If you come to the Shaw & Partners WA Race week, be prepared to get involved and to take advantage of the opportunities to paddle this coast – the locals love showing off their favorite routes and are more than generous with logistics and eskys! Good on ya, mates!

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Thanks DAZ!


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